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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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University Switching to Electronic Sources

It started with a groan, a deep breath, a reluctant sigh, and then a fevered search for adequate resources. This was a second in the life of Narindra Khalikaprasad, a 19-year-old biochemistry major, who was pressed with gathering resources to supplement a laboratory report due last Wednesday morning.

‘It’s hard, making sure you can get the good sources quickly,’ Khalikaprasad said.

His struggle is not one that’s uncommon to students. Many are frequently diving through pages of text from archaic journals, either from print or electronic resources, in an attempt to find supplemental material for their papers. Lately, there has been a noticeable increase in the availability of these resources. An ongoing conversion of academic resources ‘- including reviews and journals ‘- from print to electronic resources has aided the search of both students and scholars alike in finding the latest articles relevant to their cause.

‘It’s been a gradual growth over the last ten years or so,’ Nathan Baum, head of Digital Resources at the Melville Library, said.

The change is one that has seen emphasis on scientific journals, but also has spread out to combine several other journals and general resources. This new variation is not without pretense, however. Baum admits that there is a degree of economics involved in the turnaround of academic resources.

‘Before, the electronic alternative would be included with purchase of the print source. Lately, the subscriptions have started charging for both,’ Baum said.

On a budget that increases only to accommodate for inflationary costs, the library is pursuing predominant investment into the electronic alternative, offering a more efficient resource for both academic scholars and many of the students who frequent such sources.

This expansion is not restricted to modern articles. Baum expressed a desire to expand into several of the backorder issues, dating back to the 1930s. There are also hopes to expand into electronic books ‘- colloquial ‘e-books’ ‘- that could provide great support for students and faculty across multiple departments.

‘Electronic books are an area that should be explored more,’ Baum said.

This change in electronic resources has not only affected the library’s economic investment, but the investment of time made by students. There is a greatly reduced traffic in the print sections of the library from years ago, a time, Baum recalls, that was filled with students researching with ‘books all over the place.’ Students have gained a great deal of research efficiency because of this expansion into electronic resources, with facilitated use permitting an ease of access that was previously unheralded.

The ability to search through years of journals, across a multitude of volumes and issues, with a few strokes of the keyboard allows for more efficient researching.

‘Considering the speed at which science is progressing, it’s important that we have the ability to view any research paper as soon as it’s published,’ Bilal Asif, 19, a psychology major said.

‘Print sources have become archaic, and their existence in our current scientific system is quickly becoming redundant,’ he said.

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